Chinese voice economy concerns

The global financial crisis tops the list of challenges facing China in 2009.

Graduate recruitment in China is being hit by the global financial crisis [GALLO/GETTY]

As China celebrates 30 years of successful economic reform policies, rising unemployment and predictions of a sharp slowdown next year have left many Chinese with concerns about their financial future.

Al Jazeera asked them what they think will be China’s biggest challenge in the year ahead and how the global financial crisis is affecting them.

Wang Huan, 27, editor, from Fuxin, Liaoning

“I think the economy is going to be China’s biggest challenge next year. Both the global and the domestic economies are struggling.

For example, the manufacturing industry right now is having a hard time with the costs of resources rising.

I think things will start to improve by next spring when some of the government’s economic measures will start showing some effect.

I haven’t really felt the effects of the financial crisis yet, but already some of my friends have been laid off so I am also worried for myself next year.

I think that it will be very difficult to solve the world’s environmental problems because the financial crisis is making all the countries less keen to do something, such as measures about global warming.”

Yang Shun, 23, IT student, from Taiyuan, Shanxi province

“Dealing with the financial crisis is going to be China’s big task next year. Of course I am worried about my new job [at a computer company] which I start next year.

I think next year the job market is going to be really tough in China.

Of course, I’m really worried about China’s environment and the pollution.

We cycled from Taiyuan to Beijing over the past four days and we had to put these scarves over our mouths and when we took them off they were completely black. It was so dirty.

Every year the government takes some steps to improving the environment; it’s getting better, year by year.

For myself, well I just hope my new job goes well and I don’t lose it.”

Zhang Ke, 26, photographer at Tiananmen Square, from Beijing

“I don’t really know what China’s biggest problem is but I guess a big one is the stock market. It really crashed this year and I think it will be really difficult for it to recover next year.

I don’t have stocks but a lot of my friends have bought some.

I think 2009 will be a good year for China.
This year we had the Olympics and so a lot of foreigners came here and the world saw China and now more people overseas understand us – our culture and our country.

It means that more people will come and visit China and that our country will have better relationships with other countries.”

Jia Xiao Ying, 30, teacher, from Shuozhou, Shanxi

“The most serious problem for us is of course the financial crisis. It hasn’t really affected my life too much so far though.

My big hope for next year is the government will be able to control inflation and even lower the cost of living for us ordinary people. 

In terms of the environment I am worried about water. China is suffering much more frequently from drought now and it affects our health. I think it cannot be solved next year and in fact will get worse.

For myself, I hope that the educational system in Shanxi can sort itself out. As a teacher I am so busy, so stressed with getting all the administrative demands and tests we have to pass sorted out and I don’t have any time to actually devote to teaching my students well.”

Mister Sun, 46, egg pancake maker, Jilin province

“Next year is the 60th anniversary of China’s founding and that’s going to be the big thing in 2009. Our preparations for this great event will help our economy.

I don’t think the financial crisis is going to have such a big effect on us in China. The financial crisis doesn’t really affect me! Why not? Because my business is so tiny, it can’t really touch me.

I hope that China becomes the strongest country in the world next year and for myself well I just hope my business grows more successful.”

Liu Sijia, 26, unemployed musician, from Ningxia autonomous region

“I don’t think the economy is in such a bad shape because China is developing its economy well.

However, I think China’s biggest problem next year is its people. How can we make Chinese people more responsible, better citizens, with better morals?

How can we improve our society – that’s our big problem for next year.

I haven’t felt any bad effects from the financial crisis, in fact I feel like we Chinese have some benefits.

For example, the renminbi is now stronger compared with foreign currencies.

Next year I am afraid that China’s economy will fail like Japan’s – I am afraid we are developing too fast and it is not sustainable.”

Source : Al Jazeera

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